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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Feb;82(2):541-9.

Twenty-four-hour profiles of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, testosterone, and estradiol levels: a semilongitudinal study throughout puberty in healthy boys.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Göteborg, Finland.


To follow and correlate gonadotropin and sex steroid changes throughout puberty, 24-h profiles of LH, FSH, testosterone, and estradiol were taken on several occasions for between 2-9.5 yr in 12 healthy boys, aged 8.7-18.2 yr. Serum concentrations of LH and FSH were measured every 20 min, whereas testosterone and estradiol were measured every 2-4 h during the 24-h period. The prepubertal boys (Tanner stage 1) were subdivided into two groups: Pre 1, with a testicular volume of 1-2 mL, and Pre 2, with a testicular volume of 3 mL. Pubertal stages were classified, according to testicular volume, as early puberty (pubertal stage 2; 4-9 mL), midpuberty (pubertal stages 3-4; 10-15 mL), and late puberty (pubertal stage 5; > or = 16 mL). Mean levels of LH and FSH increased with pubertal development, although the increase in LH was greater than that in FSH. These increases were due to elevated basal levels of LH and FSH as well as to increases in the number of peaks and the peak amplitudes of LH. No diurnal rhythm was found in boys at stage Pre 1. Thereafter, a clear diurnal rhythm appeared for LH, and later in puberty, an ultradian rhythm was superimposed, as shown by time-sequence analyses. A diurnal rhythm also existed for FSH, but was much less marked than that for LH despite a clear covariation between LH and FSH, as shown from cross-correlation studies. Testosterone also showed diurnal variations from the late prepubertal stage, followed by increasing levels during both day and night in puberty. We conclude that during puberty, gonadotropin levels rise differently for LH and FSH, which may be due to the development of differences in feedback mechanisms. Despite covariation between LH and FSH, only LH showed a clear diurnal variation. In parallel, nocturnal variations in testosterone and estradiol were found. Changes in mean levels of LH, testosterone, and estradiol as well as their mean daytime and nighttime levels follow each other from the prepubertal stages to late puberty.

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